Dolphin and a great white shark
Dolphins and Sharks

Do Dolphins Kill And Eat Sharks? Why Would They Kill and Can A Single Dolphin Kill A Shark?

No, dolphins do not kill and eat sharks. Dolphins like to eat small fish and other aquatic life forms, like octopuses, squid, and crustaceans. The only reason a dolphin will kill a shark is if they feel threatened.

Why Might A Dolphin Kill A Shark

Dolphins will kill a shark if they feel threatened in any way by the shark, or if the shark is near any baby dolphins, the whole herd will come to get together to defeat the shark.

Single Dolphin Vs Single Shark

It would undoubtedly be a battle of intelligence against brutality. However, when a Dolphin is alone, a shark will have the slight upper hand in this case. Its steel jaws will rip and tear a Dolphin causing painful injuries unless the Dolphin has used its intelligence to the limit. Never say never. However, most dolphins tend to be in pods, which can quickly kill a shark together. That’s why it’s rare to find a dolphin and a shark alone. From a dolphin’s point of view, it’s better together.

Great White Shark

The great white shark is the most dangerous shark you can find in the ocean. The enormous size and strength of this shark have earned them this reputation. An average-sized great white shark is about 21 feet long and can weigh 1800 kg. With such a big difference between the size of a great white shark and most species of dolphins, it is hard for anyone to imagine that the dolphins can overpower them.

Can a dolphin kill a great white shark?

A dolphin cannot kill a great white shark alone, but a group of dolphins can quickly attack and kill one. Great white sharks are enormous and powerful, but they do not have the speed or the ability to avoid the attacks of several dolphins. It will undoubtedly be a hard battle, even for the giant pods!

Dolphins tend not to attack a great white shark unless needed. In most cases, the orcas or killer whales attack the great white shark as they are a good body size match for them.

Killer whales have size on their side over most dolphin species, like the common bottlenose and hourglass dolphin, which gives them an added advantage in attacking and killing the great white sharks. 

Killer Whale Size

The killer whales can be about 9.7 meters long and weigh about 6 tons. That means killer whales are longer and heavier than great white sharks.

Why are sharks afraid of dolphins?

Dolphins are mammals that live together in a pod. They are also very clever and know all the tricks to protect themselves from aquatic predators like sharks. Whenever a pod of dolphins spots an aggressive shark, they immediately attack it together. The Dolphin’s physical features are one of the biggest reasons sharks fear dolphins. 

Unique Physical Feature Dolphins

The vertical rear end of the dolphins, along with its exceptional flexibility, gives these animals a heightened level of mobility, which the sharks lack. This puts the sharks in a significantly disadvantageous position when they face a pod of dolphins.

The snout of the dolphins is another factor that helps these animals protect themselves against shark attacks. The dolphins can effectively use their snouts as an attacking tool. They use it to place punches on the shark’s belly, which can cause internal damage. In some cases, dolphins also attack the sharks’ gills to stop them from breathing. 

These can be fatal for the shark, and they are vaguely aware of this fact.

Do dolphins protect humans from sharks?

There are several examples where dolphins save people from drowning. Even though there is no scientific proof behind this theory, there are examples where pods of dolphins helped surfers avoid the aggressive attacks of the great white sharks. Apart from this, dolphins are known to showcase altruistic behaviour towards humans. This kind of altruistic behaviour is not a modern phenomenon. Historical evidence shows us that, for centuries, dolphins have been saving humans. You can trace the records of dolphins saving humans back to the stories of ancient Greece.

Shark Attacks On Dolphins

Sharks often hunt dolphin calves but do not like to attack the fully-grown dolphins living in the pod. As dolphins are not typically easy prey, sharks avoid striking them.

There are known incidents where great white sharks have attacked dolphins. When a great white shark reaches a certain length, they change its diet and include marine mammals like seals and dolphins. 

But as the dolphins are much faster than the sharks, they do not always make easy prey. Even though dolphins and sharks live in almost the same ocean zone, dolphins are not the top choice of a shark meal. 

A great white shark only tends to attack a dolphin if it is weak, small, young, old, distracted, or separated from its pod.

Why are dolphins considered friendly to humans?

Dolphins can be friendly to humans because they have the emotional intelligence that other animals lack. Dolphins have massive brains, which allows them to develop emotional intelligence. So, dolphins have high compassion towards humans. In some cases, dolphins can consider humans as part of the pod. That is why they showcase friendly behaviour towards humans.

Recommended Read: Do Dolphins Like To Kiss People?

However, not all dolphins are friendly towards humans. We must remember that dolphins are wild animals, and it has not been possible for us to domesticate them, so if they are not respected while you are around them, they can attack you.

Can Dolphins be dangerous?

Dolphins are not domesticated animals, making them dangerous to humans if they feel threatened. Most dolphins are large and powerful. They can easily injure any human. Even though the dolphins can seem friendly towards humans due to their intelligence, they can still be as dangerous as the sharks in some cases if need be. The only difference is that sharks eat humans, but dolphins don’t. 

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.